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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Ernie Masche told me last night he did not endorse Rudy Wright

Ernie told me last night that he was saying that he would work with Rudy Wright should he be reelected, but in no way should what he said be constituted as an endorsement. He said he wasn't telling anyone how they should vote and I have seen what the Rudy Crew put out. Everyone understands that Terry Revels endorsement is about National Identity Party politics. And if Terry thinks that is relevant, then they can have each other.

But with Ernie which is it? Who is playing fast and loose with the truth?

Ernie told me last week that he endorsed change. He told me that four more years of Rudy Wright would be disastrous, because of the divisiveness that surrounds Rudy. Ernie laughed when Rudy talked about Hickory's economy turning the corner at the Highland debate and fumed four nights later when Rudy talked about the local economy needing a jumpstart, he asked which is it?

The message that Rudy's crew put out certainly doesn't jibe with the Ernie Masche we all met during the primary campaign. The letter of endorsement put out by Rudy's crew would make Ernie's campaign seem completely disingenuous.

Let's hope that isn't the case.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

No place for a working class Republican in Catawba County

Over the past few days, I have been forced to reflect on this campaign and the history of the Hickory Hound. What is the deal with all that has gone on and where does someone like me fit into this community. They don't want people like me to fit in, but I have never been a "They" person. I could care less about they. I care about We.

I have always been in a working class situation. My family has always labored to earn a living and we are proud people looking to make our own way. We haven't ever asked for more than what we have been afforded. I personally have never been afforded the excesses of life and I have always looked to maintain a proper budget. I haven't had vacations, new cars, dates, dining out, etc., especially over the past eight years or so.

My grandparents passed down a traditional value system to me. Work hard, be honest, sacrifice now and when you get older you will have more. Well it hasn't worked out that way. Wealthy people will look at these lamentations and say that I am bitter. No, I'm not really bitter. I am weathered. I don't covet what they have. I want my own. What I am tired of is the class warfare corporate entitlement syndrome that they focus on in dividing the middle class against the poor in this economic slide to the bottom. 

When I was a kid I looked up to the wealthy and successful who it seemed had made their own way. I bought into the idea of this being the land of opportunity... the beacon on the hill... American Exceptionalism. Now, with the system we have seen set up in this nation, I see an elite wealthy who refuse to accept risk, aren't creating jobs and who feel entitled to their status in life in perpetuity.

The post World War II progress our nation enjoyed has been offshored as our American industries have been globalized. This has caused a huge erosion in the upward mobility of our middle class structure and increasing wealth disparity between the wealth structures in our nation.

What has been left behind is a casino type economic system. A paper system not built upon productive value, but built upon speculative paper assets. People think because they have accrued some wealth that they understand Economics, when what I have seen is that for the most part nothing could be further from the truth. The wealthy have for the most part soiled their bed; destroyed the viability of their ecosystem in this looking out for Numero Uno Economic Environment that has been created.

It is more than obvious that the middle class economic structure needs to be shored up in this nation. The wealthy illiterate are never going to understand that in the "Looking out for Numero Uno" economic system, because they already have theirs and they want yours. They look at it all as a zero sum game. It seems that the Powers That Be around here and across this nation are no longer interested in growing the pie.

The reason why I became a Republican was because I thought that they better understood realistic, common sense economics. Too all, but the most blindly loyal, it is obvious that is no longer the case. That doesn't mean that the Democrats understand economics better. As I have said, this isn't a zero sum game. Supply side economics could have worked, in theory, but it did not because there was no incentive to allow the assets to flow to the bottom. The economic and tax structure created barriers that have slowed the ability of the poor and middle class to economically progress and the wealth that the upper class accrued has been sent out of the country through the race to the bottom labor model. Things are going to get worse around here, because we have fully embraced the above model of an economic structure.

The reality: get in your car and ride around here. People are leaving. They have no incentive to stay and the political class is pushing for more of the same. The Powers That Be seem to think they don't need a working class/middle class in this community. Please look at all of the houses for sell. Open your eyes. Why are people leaving, because they can't afford to stick around here. Life moves forward, but this community is not moving forward.

You can continue to funnel government resources to the wealthy to build buildings, but those buildings are going to lose value faster than a new car as you drive it off the lot, because we have eroding population and income bases in this community. As more houses come on the market through simple supply and demand we see that the price point equilibrium is going to fall. That means the value of all property is going to fall in this community... diminishing prospects and diminishing returns. Sell it today, because it's going to be worth even less tomorrow.

The Powers that Be in our community are not going to listen to me, because I'm a nobody. You go to any meeting around here and it isn't about gathering facts and ideas and formulating a plan; the first question is who are you and the second is who do you represent. What we have is a go along to get along system... s social system. They already have all their plans. The meetings are windows dressing and hobnobbing events. That is not the foundation of the American system, but no one seems to understand that and even less no one seems to care, because no one says anything about it. It is all about Groupthink. Making these people feel important and like they played a role in the process.

Go to a meeting and it is the corporates and the government. If you are a middle class person they will glad hand you and then see that you are dismissed. You are treated like a visitor. You are there to see them in action; there to see the egos in action. You are there as a useful idiot. Just think if you didn't have a vote! And that would be these people's fantasy world.

If you aren't hugged up to the structure, doesn't it make you sick! 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Are the Hickory Municipal Elections a Sham... po?

Over the past year we have seen Republicans in our state change voting laws in an attempt to clamp down on what they espouse to be rampant election fraud by Democrats in our State. Last week we saw a comical situation related to all of the hoopla surrounding this issue when Republican Don Yelton of Asheville went on John Stewart's nationally syndicated program and made a fool out of himself.

Here in Catawba County, and more specifically the City of Hickory, we have our own issue of what certainly looks to be election fraud. Back on July 25, the Chairman of the Catawba County Young Republicans Josh Shampo came forward with a letter to the editor in the Hickory Daily Record in which he lambasted Dr. Jody Inglefield over National Democrat Party Issues.

Shampo was called out a few days later for his "Our Fair City" comment by the Chairman of the Catawba County Young Democrats Jonathan Wyant in a responding letter a few days later, because he does not actually reside in the city of Hickory. At that time he was registered to vote at a Sherrill's Ford address. Conveniently a few days after that Shampo rebutted in a follow up to Mr. Wyant that he did indeed have residency in Hickory. He had during the week of July 30th, between letters to rhe editor,  gone and registered to vote at the address 1650 20TH AV CT NE Hickory, NC 28601.

Hmmm... everyone found that interesting and wondered where Josh had moved to. Funny thing is that when we looked it up we saw that it is a small townhouse located off of Sandy Ridge Road here in Hickory. That townhouse happens to be the property of  Thomas Sherman Kern III. Wow... is that the same Tom Kern who is the Republican Precinct Chair of the Sandy Ridge Precinct here in Hickory; who stood so defiantly against the referendum on ward specific voting last year? Yessir, it most certainly is. 

Subsequently, the Hickory United Political Action Committee was formed on August 1 and Young Shampo at the ripe old age of 22 was made it's chairman. This group is a formula of the Catawba County Republican "Tea" Party , includes a Dixiecrat or two, and Carlton Huffman was listed as the contact person for the group. Sounds eerily similar to the No Steps Backwards Coalition of last year.

Photo from the Tumblr site devoted to Rudy Wright and the HDR - August 8, 2013:

Tom aKern was a member of the No Steps Backwards coalition as was the majority of this Hickory United group. Tom Kern, along with Carlton Huffman and Paul Byrd, were the people out labeling the Citizens for Equity in Government as ACORN. There is a video on Youtube that shows Tom Kern doing this. These are the Hickory Status Quos Hatchet men.

On this voting matter, if Mr. Shampo is a good upstanding Republican, I am sure that he would like to follow all of the guidelines involved in stamping out election fraud. I am sure that Mr. Shampo would be more than willing to cooperate with any inquiries into his residential status. As a Republican in support of voter ID laws, he would be more than willing to cooperate and show evidence that he indeed lives at the stated address by showing bills sent in his name to said address. I am sure that his Driver's License address corresponds, as of today,  with his Hickory residency status and did at the time that he voted in the Hickory Mayoral Primary on October 8, 2013. 

I am sure that Mr. Shampo would in no way want to be involved in election fraud; especially considering his status as the Chairman of the Young Republicans and his Chairmanship of a Political Action Committee directly involved in the Hickory Municipal Election. I am equally certain that Tom Kern would not want to be involved in aiding and abetting election fraud. I am certain, but most others that I have spoken with on this matter don't seem to be.

According to North Carolina,

When you move within North Carolina, you must update your address on your NC driver’s license or ID card within 60 days.

Mr. Shampo, you didn't break the law that Republicans have worked so hard to bolster, did you? You aren't shopping for a cause, are you? You do care about the integrity of the system, don't you? Please get in touch so that we may clear up this matter as soon as possible.                  

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Comment on Today's Situation

This morning I came home from breakfast and found out that Joe Brannock had been arrested yesterday. He is a friend and I am shocked by these allegations. I am sure that many have come here looking to find out information about these charges or other information about Joe. I have not spoken with Joe. He has  limited contact with anyone. Any conversation I have had with anyone has been of a private nature regarding these serious accusations. Please remember that in America those charged under the law are innocent until proven guilty. I am sure that more information regarding this will be coming forward soon.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

High Hopes

We Move Forward!!!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Abracadabra - Always Moving Forward

Concerns and differing points of view do not equate to bitterness. I believe in the future of a Hickory that is made up of the melting pot of people I grew up with, work with, and go to church with. We see a lot of ongoing intolerance in our community. You seem to want me dismissed and ignored. Isn't it time that Old Hickory gives New Hickory a chance to show what they can do to move the community forward?

The Hound: I'm not going to name names, but a couple of curious things happened at my work today. A person called my work, that those who have followed this last year-plus would definitely recognize, and basically wants my boss to fire me.

Then someone made a reservation for 16 tonight and didn't show. The name on the reservation would be very, very, very recognizable...

It certainly would be no conspiracy that some people that are in the latter years of their lives need to grow up. If this is how you display power, then what power do you have. 


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Thank You for fairness HDR - My response to Sunday's LttE about this forum, the CEG, and myself

Mrs. Nancy Willingham, it is not I who has constantly evoked your father, the former Mayor's name. Your father is no longer with us, but you certainly don't seem to mind bringing him up every time you enter the body politic. You did it when you ran for office in 2007 -- after you had not lived in the community in decades -- and you did it last year when you stood against bringing back direct ward representation. I never proactively evoked your father's name.

Times change Mrs. Willingham. This isn't the 1960's. It seems like those running this community want to take it back to some bygone, nostalgic era that wasn't as rosy a picture, for some, as they would like to paint. Ask African-American people in this community if they would like to go back to pre-1970. That is the reason why in Ridgeview they voted 250 to 5 for bringing back direct ward representation. Every precinct in South and West Hickory voted heavily for the referendum.

You seem to think I have written to harm your father, which has never been my aim. It is your group "Hickory United" that's been constantly vitriolic and evoked negative stereotypes in this community. Who or what are you attempting to unite? Certainly not the diverse ethnicities in this community.

The Citizens for Equity in Government's platform does not look backwards. It moves forward. Hickory needs Term Limits for Mayor and Council. We don't need 20 year Mayors and Council members. There needs to be accountability and transparency in how the city is governed. We need representation for all and not just for Hickory's most wealthy and connected.

Concerns and differing points of view do not equate to bitterness. I believe in the future of a Hickory that is made up of the melting pot of people I grew up with, work with, and go to church with. We see a lot of ongoing intolerance in our community. You seem to want me dismissed and ignored. Isn't it time that Old Hickory gives New Hickory a chance to show what they can do to move the community forward?

The Hound: I didn't want to print this here, before first giving the HDR the right to print it. The Letter to the Editor from Sunday by Mrs. Willingham was published in the HDR and so I felt it deserved a proper response in that forum.

On Sunday, I put an immediate response in this forum, because I was not going to allow the forum and the Citizens for Equity in Government to be damaged by mis-characterizations/representations. I have tried to think of what riled up Mrs. Willingham so much and have come to the conclusion that besides the "in general" support of direct ward representation and attempting to provide play-by-play and color of how that came about, I think she was upset when after the ward voting I said, "Now on to the Julian Whitener Finals" in this election. I was being a little humorous, but is that not what it is? Is the current system not the system that he fought for for over a decade until it was implemented in 1970?

There is more to say, but I've had this pretty much pegged from the beginning going back six years ago. As I said in the last article when I commented on what Pat Bowman had written in her Letter to the Editor in Regards to "CEG Candidates", "these people hiss CEG when they say it." They don't even know what those letters stand for, why the CEG came into existence, or what the CEG's mission is. All they know is that we have a different point of view regarding the way Hickory has been managed/led since its inception and believe it is time to move forward towards modern realities.

We believe the way Hickory is/has been run (more like controlled and manipulated) has had a direct negative impact on it's ability to grow and progress. No growth equals no jobs or economic progress... None of that equals no more money in your pockets... for most means dwindling wealth. The reality is that the status quo is not going to cede one ioda of power willingly.

Pat Bowman - Citizens for Equity in Government hasn’t endorsed

On several occasions, certain spokespersons from the Hickory United PAC have written falsely about so-called CEG-endorsed can­didates for mayor and city council. Last year, Citizens for Equity in Government did lead a conserva­tive, smaller government initiative to give citizens in their wards a more representative voice in city government.

While that referendum narrowly failed at the polls by 140 votes, the CEG continues to advocate for more transparency and broader repre­sentation in city government. Like almost every candidate for mayor and several for city council, the CEG wants to institute term limits and to have the council meetings broad­casted on the Charter public access channel.

But unlike the PAC, Citizens for Equity in Government has not publicly endorsed any candidate for mayor or council. While CEG may endorse candidates in the future, at this time we remain a grassroots, citizen’s coalition focused on issues affecting good governance.

We invite others to join with us for a better, more inclusive Hickory.


The Hound - Pat is an integral member of the Citizens for Equity in Government. There are plenty of misnomers in relation to the CEG that have been been expressed by Hickory United Political Action Committee, its previous iteration "the No Steps Backwards Coalition", and the area's entrenched officials and their close support staff and hatchetmen who have been behind all of this. They never say Citizens for Equity in Government, because they don't want to talk about the CEG's mission.  They hiss out CEG when they say it. Let me ask. Who represents the average citizen in this community?

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Brushing up on the Wingfoot District & the Zagaroli's

David Zagaroli + Pete Zagaroli + Wingfoot District + Money + Hickory City Council = Inspiring Spaces

Platform for a 21st Century Hickory - New Rules on Conflicts of Interest

I thought this was a pretty good idea at the time, but now that we have seen all the pieces of the puzzle start to fall in line. Show... me... the Money... Showmee daMoney. Cause once again the fix is in. The "Tax dollars for the Connected" program.

  From the City Council meeting of January 5, 2010

3. Council Discussion Regarding “Wingfoot District” Redevelopment Plan; a Business District and Association Promoting Economic Development Through Residential, Commercial and Industrial Redevelopment - The Wingfoot District concept was briefly presented to City Council during its recent Council Staff Retreat in December, 2009. Since then, discussion has continued regarding planning for the redevelopment of the area between Highway 127 and the new Lenoir Rhyne Boulevard, encompassing certain areas. Pete Zagaroli envisions a partnership with the City of Hickory and private investors to develop a design plan for redevelopment including improvements to public infrastructure. This plan does not fall under the guidelines of the City’s Vacant Building Revitalization Grant, but City Staff recommends the City consider the concept of redevelopment planning since one of the goals of the Operation No Vacancy initiative is to create redevelopment plans for sub-areas within the Commercial Revitalization Area. Staff recommends that Council discuss and identify policy issues related to the City expanding it’s revitalization efforts to include design planning and financing methods and partnerships to implement plans for public infrastructure improvements in redevelopment areas.

Pete Zagaroli addressed the council, he stated that he was coming before the council as both a citizen and a designer. He is looking to create some synergies to spur economic development in the area and move things forward. His focus tonight was on conceptual ideas.

The name comes because the district area he is looking to revitalize is in the shape of a winged foot. In the district, there are eight buildings that are historically significant to the textile and hosiery industry. His concept involves the history, but it is not a historical district that he is promoting. He is promoting a business district that promotes economic development through residential, commercial, and industrial redevelopment. The area is around Lenoir-Rhyne and Mr. Zagaroli believes that is is the most significant gateway into downtown.

He based the model on Downtown Durham (which is seeing a renaissance). The district would tie the university to downtown. It will create a better gateway to downtown. the historical significance would tie in with our current historic districts and promote them and future preservation. The importance comes from the private sector. In the district, owners have spent money on drawings and redevelopment. As an estimate, the expenditures have been in the $300k-$400k range. He would like to see the city to appropriate funds towards the design work of the infrastructure within the district. He feels the private investment has to start first.

The proposed redevelopment expenditures are $11,213,714 and another $2.9 million on top of what has already been done. To isolate an area creates exclusivity. More than anything this will expedite the private investment. There is no commitment to put the infrastructure in place, only a commitment to design. If successful here, then it can be implemented elsewhere in the city. He is not meaning to slight other areas in town, but he feels this is the most important area as far as gateways.

Alder Fox thanked Mr. Zagaroli his enthusiasm and stated that she thoroughly enjoys his plans. She asked if Mr. Zagaroli had looked into how Durham had financed their downtown revitalization? Zagaroli stated that he had not, but he has intentions of doing so next week. Time is critical and this area needs a morale boost. People don't always believe what they hear and read, but they believe what they see. If we can have something tangible, then this is an overall goal that he can show a potential client. He knows that they have a lot of work (to do), the city is feeling the pain that we all are feeling. He thinks if we can find some momentum. The private sector is looking to move forward. They need the end users a reason to come here. We need to focus where it will be noticed first and the momentum can work outside of that. If we try to fix the overall area or problem, there are 700 empty buildings in Catawba County; that is too daunting a task. Let's try to fix 20 buildings and that can move outward. Then move over to west Hickory. The reason why the initiative hasn't worked on the west side is because the initiative needs to come from the private sector. The people in his district are ready to move on this and make it better, If you know that your neighbors are ready to invest and raise the value of their building, then you are going to be more willing to invest in your own property. The public part comes after that.

He is meeting with Federal and State officials to see what grants are available through them. Any money left over will be spent on aesthetics. Sewer, water, and other infrastructure is already available. If you put $2 million into raw land, it will go towards infrastructure and then there is not much left. These redevelopment projects are diamonds in the rough.

Alder Patton asked if they had applied for Operation No Vacancy grants? and he stated that they have. Further conversations went into Grants available. And Mr. Zagaroli stated that he hoped the city would not look at this as "Zagaroli Construction." What he is looking for is help with infrastructure. It is up to private business to development their building, but it is the city's responsibility to create the streetscape. He understands that everyone in afraid (of investment), but he feels that we can create morale and momentum, and give a reason to reinvest in ourselves and our community.

Alderman Lail stated that there was no doubt in his mind that with the completion of 8th street NE, that bisects this district, city council should have input on what this does look like. If we can create the district that is special and unique, then it has potential for these old buildings. Zagaroli says that this can be the ultimate in mixed-use. He wants to see it truly incorporate all of the facets. This will work within the city's protocol and guidelines from day one. These funds would be qualifying and based upon expectations.

Alderman Lail interjected that he might be piggybacking on what Sally stated earlier. There is a mechanism that city council has to facilitate this kind of development. It is called Business Improvement Districts (BID). It is a true public-private partnership that has demonstrated success throughout the State of North Carolina. Alder Fox stated that she was going to instruct staff to call Durham and find out what kind of financing they use. Durham's downtown district is huge, There are BIDs in more than just downtowns. They are in historic and business districts and it is a true public-private partnership. She believes that Mr. Zagaroli is a little ahead of council, but they are looking for means to finance these types of areas. There is a rural grant that is population specified (the Rural center Pre-Development Grant). She wants staff and council to look into these grants.

Mr. Zagaroli stated that he would do anything to move this forward. He would look into whatever grants are available, but to be frank, he can't keep moving forward on this gratuitously. Alder Fox stated that they needed to find this out and they need to do their homework and it may take a couple of months to do that homework. Alderman Lail sated that this idea is great because it focuses on the heitage of our Furniture and Textile history. Mr. Zagarili stated that this is part of a bigger picture. This isn't just about Hickory, it's about the region. There is 110 years of our history locked up in these buildings that can be lost forever. The story can create a novelty and interest. That can get people to move here.

This is about communication and moving forward and trying to achieve the same goal. He would move forward on this himself, but he cannot afford to. He wants to move forward as quickly and efficiently as possible. The council decided to discuss this issue at the same workshop in which they will discuss graffiti. Further Manager Berry asked the council to think about prioritizing some of these agenda items at the upcoming retreat.


Abracadabra Alakazam
Look what you have sown
and what you reep
It's called Karma

                           A - B
                         A - B - R
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                     A - B - R - A - C
                   A - B - R - A - C - A
                 A - B - R - A - C - A - D
               A - B - R - A - C - A - D - A
             A - B - R - A - C - A - D - A - B
           A - B - R - A - C - A - D - A - B - R
         A - B - R - A - C - A - D - A - B - R - A

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Thanks for the shout out Mrs. Willingham

Thank you for the shout out in today's Hickory Daily Record Mrs. Nancy Whitener Willingham. As they say, any publicity is good publicity.  Sorry if you think I have something personal against your father -- or you, I do not. I support direct ward representation in Hickory. I sort of understand why your father did what he did. I stated that last year during the Ward Referendum. I always try to have empathy and put myself in other's shoes, but I disagree with what they did.

Mrs. Willingham is part of the Hickory United Political Action Committee that has aimed to maintain the status quo in this community through fear and vitriol. The status quo has hurt the progress in this community. That is recognized by more than half of the community. Take the people who voted for direct ward elections and add those who feel disenfranchised and feel it is useless to attempt to participate and you have way more than 50% of the community.

I said it in a speech I made before the city council a few months ago: 
Newsletter about the City Council meeting of May 21, 2013 -- Citizens Requesting to be Heard - Like Danny Hearn said at the last meeting, people are down on what they aren't up on. He's right, pushing forward ignorance as fact is not a virtue. Trying to keep people from obtaining information about public issues of relevance is therefore not virtuous. But, in reality we know this is about politics don't we. We know this is about enabling a small minority of people to hold power over a small city by controlling the message disseminated to its people.
The Citizen's for Equity in Government's aim is not to look back. It is to move forward. I do not speak for the CEG. I will let them speak for themselves. The CEG is not a monolith and we do not aim to manipulate a message.

At this point in time I will announce my support for Dr. Jody Inglefield, Joe Brannock, and Anetia Wright. Why? Because they do not represent the same ole Hickory. Isn't it time to allow other people a chance. The people of Hickory United want to talk about 50 years ago. They don't want to talk about the past decade-plus under Mayor Wright. They want to talk about it being a non-partisan race and then evoke that Dr. Inglefield is a Democrat and talk about Obama. What does any of that have to do with Hickory and Local Governance?

The other side has talked about projects with no specifics. They have spoken of raising taxes and spending $80 million on what? They can't tell you how this is going to create jobs, but the Mayor says he wants to immerse us in it. He specifically says in an Inspiring Spaces meeting from this past June, "The only thing that could happen detrimental is that we lose four Council Members on that side of the table to a bunch of people that say no taxes. He stated that he does not (know) what happens then."

First of all he uses every meeting he attends to push racehorse politics, then he mischaracterizes what people have said. People are not into raising taxes on ambiguous projects, when Hickory Inc. has never even been forthright about the last project it undertook - "The Sails".

The real issue: We have lost the younger generations in this community and we have replaced them with older generations, particularly 60, 70, and 80 year olds. We marketed towards Senior growth and were successful, but in spite of that, we have still begun to lose population. We have been very successful at diminishing prospects and diminishing returns.

We have begun a process of becoming a post-industrialized community. At one time 60% of the jobs in this community were some form of manufacturing and today we have fallen to around 25%. On the path we are on, as these seniors who have filled in the gaps leave this earth, we aren't going to have replacements. The tax base is going to shrink and we are going to see even less economic opportunity in this community. This will mean that we could see rapid depopulation, like Allentown, PA and other Rustbelt communities, unless we take real actions to create modern economic and employment opportunities . Do you understand what either will portend for your future income and property values?

The Good News is that we have a platform. Please go read it:
The Complete "Platform for a 21st Century Hickory"
You've given these other guys how many chances... how many years? What's the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. It's time to move forward with people that stand for something!

Go do your research
Dr. Jody Inglefield - Mayor for Everyone
Anetia Wright for Ward 4
Joe Brannock for City Council Ward 5

And Listen to Dr. Inglefield here:

Economic Stories of Relevance in Today's World -- October 20, 2013

Economist Dr. Paul Craig Roberts contends, "The situation is unsustainable." It will blow up at some point, and Dr. Roberts predicts, "It will be worse than the Great Depression because in the Great Depression, prices fell along with employment. Now, prices will be rising and employment would be falling. . . . Gold and silver prices will explode in dollar terms." Join Greg Hunter of as he goes One-on-One with former Assistant Treasury Secretary Dr. Paul Craig Roberts.

Millennials Devastated As American Dream Becomes Nightmare For Most - Zero Hedge - Tyler Durden - October 1, 2013 - 

The young are earnings less and less relative to the average earnings in the US...

as the younger generation's participation in the labor force fell more than 3 times as fast in the "lost decade" as in the previous two decades...

Weekly Drop in U.S. Economic Confidence Largest Since '08 - Decline of 12 points to -34 is largest since Lehman Brothers collapsed - Gallup - Alyssa Brown - October 8, 2013 - 

Furniture Brands International files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy - AP throgh USA Today - September 9, 2013 - Oaktree Capital to buy bulk of Thomasville, Broyhill, Lane and Drexel Heritage brands - The maker of furniture brands such as Thomasville, Broyhill, Lane and Drexel Heritage said Monday that it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.                            Furniture Brands International said it hopes to sell the bulk of its business to investment firm Oaktree Capital Management. The St. Louis-based company, which also runs the Thomasville chain of furniture stores, struggled like many other companies after the collapse of the housing market. But unlike some of its peers, its business has not rebounded with the recovery in home sales and the broader economy. Furniture Brands reported in August that it widened its fiscal second-quarter net loss to $40.8 million on weaker revenue and major charges to write down the value of its brands. It also said that it would cut costs and pursue the sale of some of its assets.

UPDATED: Chase Bank Limits Cash Withdrawals, Bans International Wire Transfers - Capital controls imposed on small business owners - - Paul Joseph Watson - October 17, 2013 -  Chase Bank has moved to limit cash withdrawals while banning business customers from sending international wire transfers from November 17 onwards, prompting speculation that the bank is preparing for a looming financial crisis in the United States by imposing capital controls.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Newsletter about the City Council meeting of October 15, 2013

I began recording the City Council late last year, because of my desire that the City do it on their own as any modern 21st century community began doing long ago. I had people tell me that they couldn't make it to the meetings, but they would like to see what is going on. I was also told by some council members that my summaries did not truly reflect the record, so having a video/audio recording cannot be misinterpreted.

So below is the City Council meeting. Beside each agenda item, you will see the minute:second. Now you can click on that minute link and it will take you to that specific point in the meeting. You can drag the marker on the video display to the point in the broadcast that you are interested in seeing.

 City Council Action Agenda - October 15, 2013

Highlighted Links below take you straight to that point in the video.

Special Presentations
A. Dave Paist, Business Development Committee, Presentation of the Business Well Crafted Award to Shurtape Technologies, LLC, Stephen Shuford - (Description from the City website Action Agenda) Mr. David Paist of the Business Development Committee, (BDC), stated that the BDC is a team of community volunteers who advise the City on business related opportunities. Their mission is to identify ideas that could directly, or indirectly, grow our economy, and make recommendations about those ideas to our elected officials and City staff. The Business Well Craft Award was established to recognize and thank those businesses and their employees that have influenced this community for generations and continue to do so today. The award honors a business that has been operating in the Hickory area for at least 75 years. He honored, Stephen Shuford, a direct descendent of a business that has been a big part of the Hickory community life for more than 130 years. Since 1880, generations of Hickory men and women have worked for Shuford Mills, somewhere in the Catawba Valley. They and their families have helped shape the community we are today. The business, Shurtape Technologies, LLC was split from Shuford Mills in 1996, and reborn as an independent business. Since the rebirth, Shurtape has grown into a global corporation of 15 facilities in eight countries with a reputation as an industry leader. They are known for their “Duck” brand of duct tape. Today, Shurtape Technologies employees 700 people locally. Together with their families they represent several thousand of our citizens. This new company is built on the roots of an old business and continues to help craft life in Hickory. There is no material award which could properly represent the value that this company and their employees bring to the community. He presented the award to Stephen Shuford, on behalf of Shurtape Technologies, LLC. Mr. Stephen Shuford commented that Shurtape has very much enjoyed doing business in the community. There has been a lot of change, a different business, a different company all together than they were. He stated that it has been the resiliency of this community and their employees that have made that possible. He thanked Council for the award.

B. Proclamation for Extra Mile Day, November 1, 2013 and Recognition of Community Relation Council’s 2013 Human Relations Award Winners: Dr. Brian Vierling, Edward Rogers, Peggy Shuford and Elaine Young  - (Description from the City Website Action Agenda)

C. Presentation of the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 2013 by Paula Hodges, Audit Partner with Martin Starnes & Associates

Persons Requesting to Be Heard
Cliff Moone - Mr. Cliff Moone  addressed Council on broadcasting City Council meetings. During the primary campaigns it came to his attention, while attending the forums and events, that at least two of the candidates running for Mayor and several of the candidates as well, all but one, running for City Council, have expressed in those forums a desire and an interest in seeing the Council Meetings put on the Charter Cable public access channel. The audience reacted, especially at Lenoir Rhyne University, with applause for that idea. He stated that he advocates for that idea. He stated it is a desire of his and others, and Council, to make this as transparent and open a part of government as anywhere in the State and the County. He stated another reason, he could not imagine anything more uplifting and more appropriate to have out in the community, even in a larger way, than the people who were fortunate to hear about these activities that people are pursing in our City that benefit so many people. He urged Council to consider doing this and doing it as soon as possible.

Consent Agenda: 

New Business - Departmental Reports:
1. Approval of a Vacant Building Revitalization and Demolition Grant for Piedmont Wagon Properties, LLC for Property Located at 1020 Main Ave NW in the amount of $30,000. - Piedmont Wagon Properties, LLC has applied for a Vacant Building Revitalization Grant in the amount of $30,000 to assist in the renovation of the former Piedmont Wagon Mill located at 1020 Main Avenue NW. The applicant plans to invest approximately $2.3 million in real property improvements to rehabilitate the mill building for use as office space. (Council approved with an unanimous 6-0 Consent)

 2. Quarterly Financial Report - Assistant City Manager and Chief Financial Officer Warren Wood reports.

General Comments
Mayor Wright commented that we just concluded a very successful convention of the North Carolina League of Municipalities at the convention center. That is one of the most prestigious conventions in the State of North Carolina every year. We are proud to be in the rotation. He recognized Hamilton Ward, former Ward 1, Council Member, who got us in that rotation. Our Staff do such a good job; everyone wants to come back to Hickory. They had a wonderful time at the opening event on Sunday night, dancing to the Extraordinaires, a local Hickory group, on the lawn between the Art Museum, the SALT Block, and the Library. The Museum and the Science Center were open; people were getting tours, and getting to see what we have there. Everyone was amazed that it is almost exclusively privately funded.

Alderwoman Patton thanked the Lady Elks for their volunteer work and the Staff. She has had so many people say that everyone was just bent over backwards to make sure that everyone had a really good time. It was a great event. She thanked the Art Museum Staff, Library Staff, Fire, Police, Public Services and the Street Department, everybody.

Mayor Wright read the Host City Committee list: Mandy Pitts, Mick Berry, Terry Clark, John Crone, Yaidee Fox, Louise Humphrey, Steve Miller, Gary Lee, Derrick Martin, Chuck Hansen, Andrea Surratt, Dee Blackwell with the Council of Government (COG), a number of people from the Convention Center and the Tourism Development Authority (TDA). Liazzo’s did a wonderful job. They did a great job. They couldn’t get over what we had to show them when they took them on the Inspiring Spaces Tour. It is sort of like dominoes, someone sees what we have done, they hear how it was funded, and they say they think they will try that with their building. We are in the very early stages of that; just think what we can accomplish here. Alderman Meisner commended the Street Division, they re-mulched that interchange and it looked great.

Mayor Wright commented that the Accounting Department, the Finance Department, the Budget people doesn’t get any recognition; no one writes a letter to the editor talking about the great service they get out of the Accounting Department. They also don’t get the other kind of letters  He was at West End BBQ at 5:30 in the morning, and he opened the paper, and there was a letter about getting potholes fixed. He stated that the Street crew came in and he asked them who was in charge of the potholes. The Street Department made it to the newspaper.

Alderwoman Patton commented that the Carolina Cycle Challenge was a huge success, two Sundays ago. There were over 700 registered riders. The Street Department did a super job, Police, and Fire, and the collaboration with the YMCA. It is a form of Brett’s ride with tremendous support from the Gosnell family. They appreciate the City’s involvement in it with the Rotary Groups in Hickory; it was a fantastic Sunday morning, great weather as well.

Mayor Wright stated that part of the story about the street crew was they were out at 5:30 am, having breakfast, which was really their lunch, because they had already worked three or four hours. They were out getting everything in shape for the “big shots” coming into town. They had a great exchange. We have wonderful staff at every level, and we can be proud of them, they make the Council look good.

Alderman Guess commented that Oktoberfest was a huge success. He stated it was jammed packed, with cars and people everywhere. The Police and Staff did a fine job in making  sure that everything went smoothly. He heard good comments about it.

Alderman Seaver stated that the Greater Hickory Classic is in full swing this week. He stated he would be out on the weekend on hole number eight with the Kiwanis Club.

Mayor Wright commented that there is still room for volunteers. Alderman Seaver commented that generates approximately 15 million dollars in income for the Greater Hickory Metro area.

Mr. Mick Berry stated it does and he was disappointed that the newspaper did not report on the  impact of the North Carolina League meeting in Hickory as well. Every single hotel room was  booked in Hickory for three and a half or four days, depending on how some people came in.  Alderman Seaver stated he heard it was very difficult to find one.

Mayor Wright stated that a lot of these people are decision makers in business, as well as politics in their communities. When they come here, and they see what we have, and they go back, only good things are going to happen for Hickory. He is glad we have the convention center and he is glad that Hamilton Ward got us in the rotation, and everyone would have been proud to hear the comments this week.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Wheel of Fortune

Here are your vowels

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Inglefield for Mayor - On to the General Election

Dr. Jody Inglefield is one of the final two candidates in this years Hickory City Mayoral Election. He is taking on three term incumbent Mayor Rudy Wright. Early voting starts October 17 and the official election day will be Tuesday, November 5.

In this mornings newspaper, a lady stated that Dr. Inglefield does not have a platform. Dr. Inglefield has had a platform for months. It was officially unveiled on August 31, 2013 on the Hickory Hound and is also available on his personal Mayoral website. It is not Dr. Inglefield's fault that the local paper isn't devoting time to these elections. We all feel for those who don't have internet access and rely on a newspaper that seems apathetic towards the issues that truly face our community.

The Complete "Platform for a 21st Century Hickory"

Mayor for Everyone -

10 questions with Dr. Joseph Inglefield - Candidate NC 42nd District Senate Seat 2012 - Candidate for Hickory Mayor 2013

Why should you vote for Jody Inglefield? Jody Inglefield wants to be a Mayor for Everyone!
Hickory needs honest, open government with diverse citizen input. We must have leaders who listen to and care about everyone in Hickory. Term limits for all city council members will bring fresh ideas and break ties to special interests. Community Health and Wellness depends on access to Parks and Recreational programming. We have ignored this fact in Hickory for far too long. Families that can play and exercise together will stay here. Maintenance of what we have is vital to keep the city an attraction to future employers and the creative class. We cannot ignore our ranking in national Gallup polls or blame others, but need to lead the charge to respond and to improve our rankings. Gallup ranks us the 5th most miserable metro area in the USA. We need to strengthen and support public education at all levels and follow the recommendations of Champions Of Education through collaboration with local community colleges, high schools and businesses. We need to keep the music going downtown and all over Hickory! We need to continue to invest in the Arts, Sciences and other cultural gems of Hickory.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

What's Next

Stay Tuned!

Gerald Celente - Trends Journal interview - October 10, 2013

Talks about art and Renaissance and other current issues such as the debt limit.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Hickory United PAC and Carlton Huffman

Many people probably read the Letter to the Editor in Saturday's Hickory Daily Record submitted by Carlton Huffman of Hickory United. Carlton was placed in charge of running Rudy Wright's creation "The No Steps Backwards Coalition" last year that stood in opposition of the Referendum on Ward Specific Voting. Now this year, he has become the contact person and spokesperson of the Political Action Committee called "Hickory United" that has endorsed Incumbents Jill Patton, Hank Guess, and the Hickory Arts Commission's David Zagaroli. Information has also been provided that shows that this group also supports Mayor Rudy Wright, but for some reason they have held off on publicly announcing their endorsement of the three term incumbent mayor.

Like Carlton Huffman, I do not live inside Hickory's City Limits. I have stated that several times before on this blog. I am actually surrounded by Hickory's City Limits. The property across the street is in the city limits and the properties adjacent to my back yard are in the city limits. Before I moved into my house, I lived in an apartment in the city limits for 15 years. Except for a few years as a teen and my college years, I have been a resident of Hickory my entire life. I aimed to put this house in the city limits long ago, but my income and expenses along with the cost of putting my house in the city has caused me to have to delay that move.

There are a lot of people in Hickory's Extra Territorial Jurisdiction (ETJ) that are in the same boat I am. What do we get for our investment in Hickory? The city would take our property tax dollars and pump them into the areas towards the center of the city. How would that benefit us. What does all of this mean? It means that I do not have a vote in the City of Hickory Municipal Elections. It doesn't however mean that I cannot or should not participate in elections that have direct consequences on my life.

Unlike myself, Carlton Huffman lives and votes in Granite Falls.  In Hickory United's original letter, we see that most of the people who announced their connection to Hickory United have one agenda in mind. The agenda is the support of a Status Quo Hickory and doing everything they can to ensure that Democrats never raise their heads above ground level. That is the reason why they have chosen to go after Dr. Jody Inglefield so hard in his run for Hickory City Mayor. They also don't want anyone who has a different opinion than the current Status Quo Cult-like culture to have a voice in the direction and policy making apparatus of Hickory City Government. It's non-partisan until the Powers That Be choose to make it partisan.

The person at the tumblr site devoted to Rudy Wright has gotten down to the nitty-gritty about Carlton Huffman today, pointing to links that show someone that has some very extreme views when it comes to people of different backgrounds. What Carlton hasn't figured out is that most of us aren't afforded the luxury of being a trust fund baby like he has been. He can afford to jump around from political position to political position as the hatchet man for various candidates and political interests. The rest of us have to have some kind of real employment in order to pay our bills.

Carlton was actually paid a few thousand dollars last year by the No Steps Backwards Coalition. He likes to brag constantly about how he defeated us -- the supporters of the referendum. Well, congratulations... you barely held on to a status quo culture that has always ruled Hickory. You actually didn't win anything, what you showed was that there is an ever increasing number of people that are growing more and more tired of the Old South Culture running Hickory into the ground.

This is no joke. Carlton Huffman actually likes to call himself  The Unreconstructed Southerner. You know Un - Reconstructed as in Reconstruction of the South after the Civil War. That war was fought 150 years ago. Reconstruction brought the South back into the United States and apparently Carlton isn't happy about that. Hey Carlton we lost that one buddy. You really want to refight that battle 150 years later?
I was sent links that pointed all of this out to me by an anonymous concerned citizen. One of these links takes you to a site called This is a White Supremacy site that promotes a moniker "White Pride World Wide."

I was also told that Carlton was dismissed from a job in the North Carolina State House of Representatives after a second incident in which he breached the public trust. There was a first incident in which he was rebuked for sending out e-mails making fun of 3rd and 4th grader's spelling and grammar when they had sent letters into the legislature expressing their concerns about Charter School legislation pending in the State House. Carlton was sending these e-mails around with the children's names on them and making negative comments about the children.
In another exchange, Carlton Huffman, a legislative aide for GOP state Rep. Jonathan Jordan, forwarded a student’s email to the legislative aides for Republican House members with the comment, “More great grammar results from the public school system.” -  NC Policy Watch 3/25/2011
The second incident involved him going into the North Carolina Senate Chamber and placing  an unsigned letter denigrating former Governor William Holden on each senator's desk on the day the Senate was scheduled to debate pardoning the Reconstruction Era governor. Only State Senators are allowed to place things on one another's desks. Carlton was a staff aide of a State House member and he was in the Senate Chamber when it was closed putting these letters on the desks. He had no business being in the Senate Chamber and so he was trespassing in this act. (Holden critic Huffman unrepentant - WRAL (Raleigh) - Laura Leslie - April 11, 2011)

After the second incident, Carlton was shown the door by his boss at the behest of the Republican leadership in the North Carolina Legislature.

And here is a list of other interesting viewpoints of the Unreconstructed Southerner:
                                            > Unreconstructed Southerner - Council of Conservative Citizens <

It is Orwellian for these people to talk about Uniting Hickory.  Although I am a Republican, Carlton certainly doesn't represent my point of view -- or most others. Does he represent the points of view of Hickory United supporters????

I'm by no means perfect, but I like to think I am an adult who accepts people of all backgrounds. Carlton needs to get out here and meet some people from other backgrounds and broaden his horizons, because what he espouses does not represent the real world. Is this really what we want Hickory to be?

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Agenda about the City Council meeting of October 15, 2013

This Agenda is about the Hickory City Council meeting that will take place on the date listed above. City council meetings are held on the first and third Tuesdays of each Month in the Council Chambers of the Julian Whitener building.

At right of this page under Main Information links is an Hickory's City Website link. If you click on that link, it takes you to our city’s website, at the left of the page you will see the Agenda's and Minutes link you need to click. This will give you a choice of PDF files to upcoming and previous meetings.

You will find historic Agenda and Minutes links. Agendas show what is on the docket for the meeting of that date. The Minutes is an actual summary of the proceedings of the meeting of that date. You can also look in the upper right hand corner of the front page of the Hickory Hound and (will soon) find the link to the past history of Hickory City Newsletters.

Here is a summary of the agenda of the meeting. There were a couple of important items that were discussed at this meeting and the details are listed further below:

Please remember that pressing Ctrl and + will magnify the text and page and pressing Ctrl and - will make the text and page smaller. This will help the readability for those with smaller screens and/or eye difficulties.

City Website has changed - Here is a link to the City of Hickory Document Center

Invocation by Rev. Jay Robison. Pastor, Viewmont Baptist Church

City Council Agenda - October 15, 2013

( Hound Pre-meeting comment) - How many City Grants is the Hollar Hosiery project going to receive before it's all said and done?

Special Presentations
A. Dave Paist, Business Development Committee, Presentation of the Business Well Crafted Award to Shurtape Technologies, LLC, Stephen Shuford
B. Proclamation for Extra Mile Day, November 1, 2013 and Recognition of Community Relation Council’s 2013 Human Relations Award Winners: Dr. Brian Vierling, Edward Rogers, Peggy Shuford and Elaine Young (Exhibit IV.B.)
C. Presentation of the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 2013 by Paula Hodges, Audit Partner with Martin Starnes & Associates

Persons Requesting to Be Heard
To be determined

Consent Agenda:
A. Approval of a Landscape Grant for Non-Residential Property Owned by Julien Cody Holdings LLC in the Amount of $2,500. - The Community Appearance Commission requests approval of a Landscape Grant for non-residential property owned by Julien Cody Holdings LLC located at 633 4th Street SW, in the amount of $2,500. The proposal involves the renovation of the exterior landscaping on the property. These improvements will include the removal of asphalt and concrete located on the property to provide for the installation of new plant materials. The applicant has provided two bids for the items listed above, which total $6,200 and $8,040. Given the estimates provided, the proposal qualifies for a $2,500 grant.

B. Approval of a Landscape Grant for Non-Residential Property Owned by 7HE Properties LLC in the Amount of $2,500. - The Community Appearance Commission requests approval of a Landscape Grant for non-residential property owned by 7HE Properties LLC located at 1010 3rd Avenue Drive NW, in the amount of $2,500. The proposal involves the renovation of the exterior landscaping of the property. These improvements will include the installation of new plant materials, as well as the replacement of a fence on the grounds of the property. The applicant has provided two bids for the items listed above, which total $5,088 and $6,325. Given the estimates provided, the proposal qualifies for a $2,500 grant.

C. Approval of an Appearance Grant for Non-Residential Property Owned by Hollar Hosiery Landlord, LLC in the Amount of $5,000. - The Community Appearance Commission requests approval of an Appearance Grant for non-residential property owned by Hollar Hosiery Landlord, LLC located at 883 Highland Avenue SE in the amount of $5,000. The proposal involves the installation of new period type lighting, as well as new epoxy coating on the floor of the lower level plaza. The applicant has provided two bids for the items listed above, which total $13,625 and $14,950. Given the estimates provided, the proposal qualifies for a $5,000 grant.

D. Approval of an Appearance Grant for Non-Residential Property Owned by Julien Cody Holdings LLC in the Amount of $5,000. - The Community Appearance Commission requests approval of an Appearance Grant for non-residential property owned by Julien Cody Holdings LLC located at 633 4th Street SW, in the amount of $5,000. The proposal involves the renovation of the exterior fa├žade of the commercial building located on the property. These improvements will include the replacement of the fascia around the top of the building, as well as the removal of the existing neon tubing and dated signage, once removed the fascia will be replaced with new modern materials. The applicant has provided two bids for the items listed above, which total $11,500 and $39,740. Given the estimates provided, the proposal qualifies
for a $5,000 grant.

E. Approval of Eight Days of Vacation Time to Use as Door Prizes for Coworker Appreciation Day. - The Coworker Appreciation Event Committee requests approval of eight days of vacation time to use as door prizes for Coworker Appreciation Day, scheduled for Thursday, November 7, 2013 at the Hickory Metro Convention Center. Five days are used as the grand prize and the other three days as additional door prizes.

F. Call for Public Hearing - For the Consideration of Voluntary Contiguous Annexation of Property Located at 1879 Startown Road, Hickory, Containing .83 Acres (Authorize Public Hearing for November 5, 2013)

G. Approval to Accept Grant in the Amount of $60,000 from the Governor’s Highway Safety Program to Purchase (20) In-Car Digital Cameras at a Total Cost of $120,000. - A standard marked Hickory Police Vehicle is equipped with a specialized Mobile Video In-Car Camera for all new police vehicles. Life expectancy will be five (5) to ten (10) years on the in-car cameras. These cameras can be reinstalled in new vehicles as required. The digital video recording system is to be installed in police vehicles at an estimated cost of $6,000 per in-car camera. The twenty (20) digital video in car cameras will cost $120,000. The City’s match is $60,000. Along with installing in-car cameras in new police vehicles, these cameras will replace any camera no longer working or supported by a vendor. Funds are budgeted in FY2013-2014 budget.

H. Transfer of Cemetery Deed from Julia Fleming Roper, unmarried, to Glenda White Deaton in Oakwood Cemetery

I. Transfer of Cemetery Deed from Lynn A. Mason, Executrix of the Estate of Mary Houser Allran, Decedent to Austin M. Allran in Oakwood Cemetery (

J. Transfer of Cemetery Deed from Lynn A. Mason, Executrix of the Estate of Mary Houser Allran, Decedent to Lynn A. Mason in Oakwood Cemetery

K. Transfer of Cemetery Deed from Lynn A. Mason, Executrix of the Estate of Mary Houser Allran, Decedent to Jeb A. Allran in Oakwood Cemetery

L. Transfer of Cemetery Deed from Lynn A. Mason, Executrix of the Estate of Mary Houser Allran, Decedent to Janet A. Berry in Oakwood Cemetery

M. Approval of Talbert, Bright & Ellington, Inc., Contract Amendment 1 to Work Authorization for the Design through Bidding Phase Services of the Taxiway “B”, Taxiway “S”, and North Apron Pavement Rehabilitation Project. - This contract amendment will provide for additional topographic surveying, additional geotechnical investigation, and additional design through bidding phase services for the Taxiway “B”, Taxiway “S”, and North Apron Pavement Rehabilitation project, NC Division of Aviation grant number 36237.66.4.2. This contract amendment is in the amount of
$19,043 and will be paid for out of the grant funds. The existing pavements are highly oxidized with cracking and in need of rehabilitation. The method of pavement rehabilitation will be determined by the Engineer after receiving the pre-design geotechnical investigation report/recommendations and the topographic survey. The NC Division of Aviation has announced and is in the process of issuing grant 36237.66.4.2 at the 90% level for this contract in the amount of $17,139. The City has a match obligation of 10% or $1,904. The total sum of these amounts constitutes the contract amendment total of $19,043.

N. Approval of a Resolution and Lease Agreement Between the City of Hickory and Donnie Mason for Property Located at 1450 12th Avenue NE, Hickory. - Public Services requests approval to lease property located at 1450 12th Avenue NE, Hickory to Donnie Mason. The house was originally used for security personnel to keep Public Services secured. The property has been inspected and is ready for rental. The lease will be for a one year period, beginning November 1, 2013, at a rate of $92.31 weekly.

O. Budget Ordinance Amendment Number 6.
1. To budget $13,500 of area local government contributions to help fund expenses associated with hosting the North Carolina League of Municipalities Conference. Contributions include $2,500-City of Conover, $2,000-Town of Maiden, $4,000-City of Newton, $1,000-City of Claremont and $4,000-Catawba County. 2. To transfer $60,000 from the Police Department operating budget to the North Carolina Governor’s Highway Safety Program Grant Project budget. The North
Carolina Department of Transportation/Governor's Highway Safety Program awarded the City of Hickory a $60,000 grant which will pay 50% towards the purchase of twenty (20) digital video in car cameras at a total cost of $120,000. The transfer from the Police Department operational budget represents the City’s 50% match. 3. To transfer $1,905 of Appropriated General Fund Balance to the Airport’s Taxiway B, S, North Apron Project. The State of North Carolina Department of Transportation has amended the grant project in the total amount of $19,043 with funding at the 90%
Federal level ($17,138) and 10% local match ($1,905). The grant funds will cover additional topographic survey, additional pre-design geotechnical work and additional design services. This amendment is necessary to provide the local match of $1,905.

P. Grant Project Ordinance Amendment Number 2.
1. To budget $1,905 of Appropriated General Fund Balance and $17,138 of the State of North Carolina Department of Transportation funds in the Airport’s Taxiway B, S, North Apron Project. The State of North Carolina Department of Transportation has amended the grant project in the total amount of $19,043 with funding at the 90% Federal level ($17,138) and 10% local match ($1,905). The grant funds will cover additional topographic survey, additional pre-design geotechnical work and additional design services. This amendment is necessary to budget a total of $19,043 in the grant project.

Q. Grant Project Ordinance Number 3.
1. To budget a $60,000 North Carolina Department of Transportation Governor’s Highway Safety Program Grant award and a $60,000 transfer from the Police Department’s operating budget in the Governor’s Highway Program Grant Project budget. The grant will pay 50% towards the purchase of twenty (20) digital video in car cameras at a total cost of $120,000. The transfer from the Police Department operational budget represents the City’s 50% match.

R. Approval of Consulting Services Agreement with Gavel & Dorn, PLLC for the Central Business District Waterline Rehabilitation Project in the amount of $29,950. - The Central Business District of the City of Hickory is further defined as the area of downtown Hickory in the vicinity of Trade Alley and 1st Ave NW. This area is served by an older portion the City of Hickory Distribution System predominantly consisting of 6, 8 and 12-inch cast iron waterlines. Over time this material will become turberculated with material and significantly reduce the available flow diameter of the waterlines. This project is intended to restore the full pipe diameter, resurface the inside of the waterlines with a protective material and re-establish necessary fire flows and available service to customers. This contract will be for the engineering and design work necessary to complete the project. This method of project completion has been identified by staff as the preferred method due to the congested nature of the downtown area and the substantially less destructive nature of this method on surface encumbrances. The project will be designed such that potable water service will be provided to customers of the system affected via temporary lines while the existing lines are being rehabilitated. This is a budgeted project in the FY 13-14 Capital Budget for the Public Utilities Department.

New Business - Departmental Reports:
1. Approval of a Vacant Building Revitalization and Demolition Grant for Piedmont Wagon Properties, LLC for Property Located at 1020 Main Ave NW in the amount of $30,000. - Piedmont Wagon Properties, LLC has applied for a Vacant Building Revitalization Grant in the amount of $30,000 to assist in the renovation of the former Piedmont Wagon Mill located at 1020 Main Avenue NW. The applicant plans to invest approximately $2.3 million in real property improvements to rehabilitate the mill building for use as office space.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Newsletter about the City Council meeting of October 1, 2013

I began recording the City Council late last year, because of my desire that the City do it on their own as any modern 21st century community began doing long ago. I had people tell me that they couldn't make it to the meetings, but they would like to see what is going on. I was also told by some council members that my summaries did not truly reflect the record, so having a video/audio recording cannot be misinterpreted.

So below is the City Council meeting. Beside each agenda item, you will see the minute:second. Now you can click on that minute link and it will take you to that specific point in the meeting. You can drag the marker on the video display to the point in the broadcast that you are interested in seeing.

 Agenda about the City Council meeting of October 1, 2013

Special Presentations
A. Proclamation for Fire Prevention Week October 6-12, 2013
B. Branding Video Presentation by Business Development Committee – Laurie Hoover

C. Innovate Catawba

Introduction of Debbie Shannon, Director and Program Manager for Innovate Catawba
Update on Reinventing Spaces Workgroup, Stephen Shuford, Shurtape Technologies

New Business - Public Hearings
1. Rezoning Petition 13-11 for the Property Located at 1076 Fox Chase Drive, Newton, containing .43 acres. - Ms. Crystal Kuhar has petitioned for rezoning .43 acres of property located at 1076 Fox Chase Drive. The petition is to rezone the property from Catawba County R-20 Residential to City of Hickory Low Density Residential (R-1) This public hearing was advertised on September 20, 2013 and September 27, 2013 in a newspaper having general circulation in the Hickory area.

As the Planets align

We Move Forward

Just watch!

Friday, October 11, 2013

The road to hell is paved with good intentions

I am Toto pulling back the curtain... Time to wake up Dorothy.. Wake Up!!!

More to come!!!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Evidence - This Mayor and This Council have neglected their leadership duties

As a friend points out, "Still a lot of old and sometimes angry white guys around.  Father time and a
few more elections will take a toll on this." That is what I mean by time being on our side. Too bad that so much of it is wasting away, when so much could be done to help the community go forward. We have a community with a lot of potential that has been stifled.

After reading this article, people will have to decide if Ignorance and Dogma are Bliss or whether it's time to start speaking up and out about what is being allowed to happen by the leadership in this community. If I didn't care, I wouldn't be down in this rabbit hole.

I was sent an interesting e-mail last week, that shows that not much has changed in the Whitener building over the last few years. The e-mail contained a link to a site called Concerned about Hickory.  There is only one article on this site and it was published on March 27, 2013.

The article is entitled - Mismanagement. Well Hidden. 

You need to go to this site and read about the accusations that need to be answered to. We have some big issues in Hickory with the way City Hall is being administrated. This is not the first time that I have read such information as is contained in this Concerned about Hickory Website.

As you may recall, I was sent a letter a few years ago that detailed similar information. That letter became an article that I published two years ago on September 6, 2011 entitled What is Going on at Hickory City Hall?!?!?.

Please go read this information. Our Mayor and City Council have completely invested in the City Manager style of Government to the point that Mick Berry has Carte Blanche to do anything he wants to do without question. It is to the point that Mayor Rudy Wright says that we can't have a splash pad unless Mick Berry says we can. The rest of them have said it multiple times throughout the years; that we can't have this, that, or the other, because Mick said we can't have it. Their job is to instruct the City Manager as to what the City wants and tell him to bring the various options; not to tell our elected officials what we can and cannot have.

The people of Hickory elected this Mayor and City Council to lead Hickory. They did not elect Mick Berry to lead Hickory. The City Council hired Mick Berry 8 years ago. The majority of the present council were responsible for that hire and they all have continuously renewed his contract. By all accounts, Rudy Wright sent Gary McGee packing and I haven't ever heard much bad said against Gary McGee by the people that worked for him or who dealt with him... On the other hand go read the articles.

This gets back to several items in the Agenda for a 21st Century Hickory. When we talk about Public Information, the Lack of Communication and Transparency, and the Conflicts of Interest. There is a circular conflict of interest in which the City Administration  and the City Council protect one another's interests and they must rise above all of that - They Haven't. The City Manager Form of government is supposed to be a partnership with the elected body - The City Council. This is the United States of America. We don't need no stinking Commissar.

Upon further review, a note led to more discovery:
You may find it interesting that Mick & Mike (Bennett) have put the hiring of  an I.T. Manager "on hold".    I think they are laying low, and did not want to hire yet another Mormon (Mike Woods) before the election, so as not to give any candidates any more ammunition.
Mike Woods... hmmm - where have I heard that name before?

The Picture is from the Hickory Daily Record. The caption reads:
Mick Berry (left) Stake President and Bishop Michael Woods of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, look over scripture on Wednesday afternoon. Jeremy Detter - Hickory Daily Record

We have a pattern on several fronts here folks. Does this sound like the way a city should be run?

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Alert: Exploitation Well Crafted! and Rudy Wright

 Update (6:45pm  - 10/9/2013): Can you imagine how you would feel if  someone were to exploit your elderly parent for personal gain? We all can because we've all dealt with issues of a loved ones being in a vulnerable state whether mental or physical or both at some time in our lives. Rudy Wright has mentioned frequently about his mother's last years and dealing with Alzheimer's and yet he still willfully went through with his scheme to exploit the former Congressman purely for personal political gain.

Update 2 (7:35pm - 10/9/2013): I just heard a voicemail this evening that was left by Congressman Ballenger's wife that described the exploitation of the former Congressman by Mayor Wright as "Despicable". 

Rudy Wright as seen in a picture in this mornings Hickory Daily Record (10/9/2013) with our Former Congressman Cass Ballenger in a photo-op stunt. I was sent a message that his family is vurry, vurry, (I cain't emphasize enough) vurry-vurry upset about this.

If they had known about this, the family would have never allowed it. The Assisted Living Center the Congressman resides in should have known better, the Hickory Daily Record should have known better, if someone set this up they should have known better, and MOST of all Rudy Wright should have known better. Given the inappropriate action and the family's feelings towards this, when can we expect the vurry appropriate public apology.

^ Used by permission ^

Rudy is trying to whip up Republican support as he runs against a Democrat. Rudy pushes the non-partisan angle in public, but pretends to be an ultra-conservative when he feels it benefits him. Remember this is the guy that promises to raise your taxes and spend money on beautification.

Rudy wants to call people out when he disagrees about a sign that is up for interpretation, but Rudy exploiting an 86 year old dementia patient for political purposes is fine????

Old Hickory in the lead

Tonight the results are in for Ward Voting and now we go to the Julian Whitener finals, in which the system works to dilute a level playing field of representation on the Hickory City Council, but that battle was lost last year and won't be changed for a few more years.

The Julian Whitener Finalists will be:
Ward 4 - Anetia Wright vs. Hank Guess
Ward 5 - David Zagaroli vs. Joe Brannock
Ward 6 - Jill Patton vs .......
Mayor  - Rudy Wright vs Dr. Jody Inglefield

It will be an uphill battle for those facing the establishment, especially here in a community that looks to cling to traditions long ago abandoned by forward moving communities.

The Establishments Positions:
1) Taking care of Old Money interests first and foremost. Competition is a Sin.
2) Union Square, Union Square, Union Square. Obviously.
3) A community tailor made for 70, 80, and 90 year olds. Actions speak louder than words.
4) Business built upon Cheap Labor and Worker Bees. The Underemployment Economic Model.
5) Regressive Taxation for Public Relations. Paid for by the middle class. Spent by the Upper Class.
6) The City Administrative form of government is the be-all/end-all.

The Challenger Positions:
1) Term Limits.
2) We have got to fix this demographic issue.
3) Taking seriously the Health problems in this community.
4) Leveling the Policy making Playing Field. Conflicts of Interest are killing us.
5) Bringing the Community together as one through love and compassion.
6) The Mayor and City Council are responsible for our governance.

The Hound: Ernie Masche and I sat in a meeting with a gentleman yesterday who is a friend of mine and he talked about the origins of the Economic Development Corporation back in the 1970s. Most of the established "old money" companies in Catawba County were dead set against it's formation. It was named the "Catawba County Industrial Development Commission" - the precursor of today's EDC.

Everyone in this community today touts the EDC, but it would not have been allowed to form if certain people had not gone up against the local entrenched establishment of the 1970s, much as the Challengers to current city governance are having to do today.

We will see what happens in the next few weeks. Time is definitely on our side, but economic progress is not. We have not turned any corners. The economy continues to rot and we have people who have no interest in real issues and common sense.... We Move Forward!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Oh if you only knew - Bwahahaha!!!

Domo Arrigato

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Hickory Mayor Debate - Lenoir-Rhyne University - October 4, 2013

Friday night, Lenoir-Rhyne University hosted a mayoral candidate forum at P.E. Monroe Auditorium. All six candidates were present.  Jeff Brittain, Candice Harold, Dr. Jody Inglefield, Ernie Masche, Terry Revels, and Rudy Wright answered three questions posed by the Lenoir-Rhyne Professor Cade Hamilton and his debate team.

Videos (2 parts) are at the bottom of this article. Video quality isn't so great because of the stage lighting effect and the natural darkness of P.E. Monroe. The contrasts lead to a white-out effect. This is the best debate that I have ever watched live - very professionally facilitated. This is as level a playing field as you will ever see in a local election.The only suggestion I would make is to have the time manager on the center-front row with large time cue cards.

Moderator Information:
Cade Hamilton, Director of Speech and Debate, School of Journalism and Mass Communications Lenoir-Rhyne University

The Questions:
- What is your most significant achievement for the greater good of the City of Hickory and why does that make you most prepared to be the mayor?
- What would you do as mayor to help attract cultural events and diverse populations to Hickory?
- What are the two most significant issues facing the city of Hickory in the next two years and what would you do to address those issues?

Additional Topic Areas:
- Transparency and Accountability
- Jobs and the Local Economy
- Variances between Candidates

In witnessing this forum, once again we see five candidates who see many issues in the community that need to be addressed and an incumbent Mayor who comes across in a My Way or The Highway fashion. At least on this night he didn't talk about turning the corner or say the other candidates wanted his job after he had done all of the hard work.

In this round, we once again saw a defiant Mayor inferring that he was going to keep on doing it the same way he had been for the past twelve years and pontificating about a lack of understanding as to why the other candidates weren't addressing the issues he wanted to address. He seems to be confused about this not being the typical Hickory City Council Beauty Pageant setting.  Of course, I don't mind pointing this out since I will never be awarded the Mr. Congeniality trophy.

The voters will have to make the call as to whether they agree with the five candidates who would like to see the city alter course on some issues/objectives or the three term Incumbent who seems to be wondering why he is being challenged and especially in this manner. To my knowledge, we have never seen a political race such as this in Hickory. And it really isn't hard to understand why it has come to this. The Status Quo wants to blame the Hickory Hound and the CEG, but maybe it is time that they do one of my favorite exercises of the past six-plus years -- REFLECTION!!! It is a healthy exercise.

There was an excellent opening message by Dr. Inglefield about his wife Rebecca and her arrest last year and being shocked about what he has learned over the last few years. "What does it take to shock the people of Hickory." He related all of this to a lack of communication and transparency. There was another excellent message by Jeff Brittain about finding Shark Teeth on a beach. He has hundreds. Most people never find one. He has a plan. He related that to bringing jobs to our area. No plan, no jobs. Ernie Masche took a cue from Mayor Wright and walked out towards the audience and sat on the front of the stage and spoke about it being time for a change and about transparency and needing youth in the community. He says that we need to look out for the whole city and not just certain sections. Candice Harold spoke about going to the Taco Bell on Hwy 70 on the weekend and meeting the young people who cruise late at night and how they expressed that there is nothing to do around here. They wouldn't be out cruising if they had a place to hang out. Terry Revels comes across as a man who truly loves and reveres the United States of America.

The Mayor has changed the dialogue from "Inspiring Spaces" to "Innovate Catawba" and "Innovate Hickory". He said that Inspiring spaces is a part of all of that. Pigs and Billy Goats... lipstick still ain't gonna change the situation.

The Mayor is now saying what he said at the Democrat Dinner forum was a S.W.A.G. (Silly Wild @$$ Guess) remark. You can go to the link at the bottom of this paragraph where the Mayor point blank says that the number being discussed is $80 million ($20 million State, $20 million Federal, $20 million Hickory, and $20 million hopefully from private interests - $2 million each over 10 years). I have also heard that from other sources. He knows that people don't want to hear this.
Link to the $80 million Comment.

He and the city are also trying to ride the coattails of a man's devotion towards his wife in the creation of a conservancy on the lake and swerve the meaning of that devotion towards their own message and objective - Ain't Cool.  

One last comment - Hickory United PAC is definitely in Rudy's corner. They have to be, because none of the other five candidates support their extremist tactics that prey upon ignorance. They were the ones that asked a question about whether the candidates would support a gun manufacturer moving to Catawba County. As Dr. Inglefield answered the question the young Co-Chair of HUPAC immediately sprang up out of his seat, which was very noticeable, dialed his phone and was heard saying they were going to run an ad against Dr. Inglefield on Tuesday morning. He didn't even have the courtesy to listen to the man's answer. Wow! How ingenious! How original! Just like their ACORN thing from last year, but you know what they say about coming around and going around. Boys being boys, they never seem to learn that such tactics come back to bite you in the end.

Part 1

Part 2